This has been a wonderful weekend. Listening to Johann Strauss I decided to capture this. I am doing a countdown of all days I have left in Brussels. There are 84 days more. I want to capture the essence of my life in Brussels in the days coming.
On Friday, when cleaning and reflecting on the weekend to come, I was not very confident. I had left cleaning to Thursday evening and then not done it. On Friday evening I started – the reinforcement I expected in the form of my husband did not turn up – “Too much work” he said. I grunted. So left to myself, as posted earlier, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. There was a lunch and singing party organized at home for 15 people on Saturday. There was no grocery at home, I had not cleaned or unpacked since I came back from India/Dubai.
Panic never strikes me twice – it ONLY strikes me in the last minute. So on Saturday morning I sat in front of the computer and declared “I am going to be systematic – after all I cleaned the whole place and now I can manage the rest too. I am leaving now to shop and I will go to ‘Welcome to Rob’ in Woluwe St. Piere at 8:30”. It was 8 in the morning. At 9:15, I raised myself up from my addiction and started running like a chicken without a head…
After going to Le Pain Quotidien, Delhaize for shopping, I returned without rice. “Marinate chicken and then leave for GB to get the rice” I told myself. After all, though I took about 1.5 hours to shop for groceries, my guests were expected only at 1:00 p.m. The bell rang and I started! What – already? I looked into the intercom hoping to see my friend, Nadia, who was supposed to help cook and instead seeing another friend. “doh! oh! Francis”. I buzzed him in..
I had been dieting and had had no sweet edibles at home except sugar all week. Pleasantries exchanged, I happily and greedily glanced at the heavy cream pastry he held in his hand and then promptly proceeded to employ him in my least favourite job – cutting onions. My other friend joined us and we talked and cooked. Come 1:00 p.m, I could sense Francis wilting of hunger – “I did not have breakfast thinking it was late breakfast you had mentioned” – he explained.
Come 1:45, we were still waiting when I realized I had no salt or rice at home and my toilet bulb had konked out. I rn downstairs to the GB around the corner. I had finally agreed we no longer need to wait when by quirk of fate everyone started turning up. It is a lesson in expat life in Brussels – on a Saturday, no one ever turns up on time. All were out till wee hours of the morning on Friday to come earlier than 2:15.
We had a wonderful afternoon of lazy lunch and lovely singing with different songs from different culture.
and I was forced to sing this…
This lasted until 2:00 a.m again with just three of us until the end (ok… I agree I had no choice but I did not want one). At the beginning of the day I had started off with 4 bottles of red wine and 1 bottle of white wine. At the end of the day I was left with 6 bottles though we drank 4 red and 1 white.
Here is a glimpse into the music…
Sunday, after a full day of addiction, I asked Francis whether he would like to join for tea. Marco dropped in to pick up his guitars just as we were sipping our tea with bread snacks with hummus topped by chopped tomatoes, red onions and coriander leaves. We spent a good part of 2 hours chatting about BPO in India, Marco’s and Katja’s wedding in Portugal, issues with cross-cultural weddings or relationships and the interesting part of such relationships and how it opens out ones mind. Being an expat in a very different culture with friends and colleagues very different from my upbringing I could very well identify with what he said. It reminded me of something another friend mentioned quite in the passing last week about cultural differences and not knowing the other persons background at all.
When they left together with Francis helping Marco carry this guitar amplifiers and guitars, I smiled contently like a cat who has just had his milk and looked out into the southern bluish grey horizon while yellow lamps glowed in my living room. “Life was worth living” as I embarked on my new hobby – peeling off the labels from the wine bottles of the wines I shall consume this year. The best one today – a hungarian wine brought by the best singer of the evening, a hungarian girl, whom I had not met before and who I hope will become a good friend.